The word Twinning describes a special relationship between two communities. The Germans call it partnerschaft (partnership), the French word is jumelage. Australia, New Zealand and the USA refer to sister cities. The first recorded modern twinning occurred in 1920 between Poix-du-Nord and Keighley. Gradually people of goodwill and intent sought to make contact and build friendships with other foreign communities, to encourage better mutual understanding. By 1962 there were 192 such twinnings. Today there are more than 1,700.
East Grinstead Town Twinning Association was founded in 1962 and currently fosters twinning relationships with the people of five European towns as well as friendship with our associates in Tramin.
Our Association was formed at a public meeting held at East Court, East Grinstead, on 21st November 1962 after contact by the Mayor of Bourg-de-Péage, in the Drome Region of Southern France. Official twinning took place in 1964.
Over the years the link has grown stronger, with exchange visits between young people, adult groups, sports groups and other organisations such as choral societies, professional associations and so on.
Bourg-de-Péage had twinned with Mindelheim (Bavaria, Germany) and Verbania (on Lake Maggiore, Italy) in 1962 and in 1964 twinned with Sant Feliu de Guíxols (Costa Brava, Spain) so it was a natural progression for East Grinstead to link with these other towns as well. Official twinning with Verbania took place in 1992 followed by Mindelheim and Sant Feliu de Guixols in 1994. Our fifth link came about through Mindelheim’s twinning link with Schwaz (Austrian Tyrol).
In 1985 East Grinstead was honoured with the presentation of the European flag in recognition of our activity in promoting friendship to our European neighbours.
Our logo is a collage representing, left to right: Queen Victoria Hospital, world famous for its McIndoe burns unit: St Swithun's church; the 14th-century timber-framed buildings in the High Street; and in red the Meridian line which passes through East Grinstead.
♦ It can offer friendship both here in East Grinstead and in any of our five twin towns
♦ It can help to educate young people, particularly in languages
♦ It can give a better understanding of our European neighbours
♦ Each year youth groups from all the towns meet in one of the towns. These gatherings are for young people between 14 and 18 years. The event in 2006 took place in Verbania, and 2007 in Sant Feliu de Guixols
♦ We endeavour to assist schools with exchanges
♦ We try to offer exchange with employment, and young people have had work experience both in Bourg-de-Peage and Mindelheim
♦ East Grinstead Rugby Club has been exchanging with Bourg-de-Péage for the last 40 years
♦ East Grinstead Operatic Society, and the East Grinstead Fire Fighters have very close connections with Mindelheim
♦ The East Grinstead Choral Society has had successful visits to Sant Feliu de Guixols, Verbania and Mindelheim
♦ In 2004 the East Grinstead ConChord Band played in Mindelheim, celebrating the 10th Twinning Anniversary
♦ Many active personal friendships have flourished over the past half century and more
Members participate in fund raising and social activities to foster the Aims of the Association. These include:
♦ Coffee mornings at the Library, when members volunteer to serve on a rota basis
♦ Helping with local events
♦ Hosting our twin town visitors
♦ Visiting twin towns
♦ Social evenings
Youth in Europe, also known as Jeunes san Frontières, Jugend ohne Grenzen, Giovani sensa frontiere, and formerly It's a Knockout, was started in East Grinstead in 1976. on the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Charter with Bourg-de-Péage. Six young people aged between 14 and 18 from each of the six towns are invited to participate.
Since then all of our link towns have taken part in this annual event. In 2016 East Grinstead was the host – the theme being environment and conservation. 38 youngsters took part over four days, visiting Wakehurst, the Millenium Seed Bank and the London Science Museum.
Future Youth in Europe events:
♦ 2017 Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Spain 29 June – 2 July
♦ 2018 Tramin, Italy
♦ 2019 Mindelheim, Germany
♦ 2020 Schwaz, Austria
♦ 2021 Bourg-de-Péage, France
Logo for 2016, also marking the 50th anniversary celebrations with Bourg-de-Péage.
Young people are asked to blog online – organised by Imberhorne School.
More information and membership details from:
Telephone 01342 315375
Website © 2015–16 Good Imprint